Latin America & Caribbean

Rubi Ibarra Garcia birthday: Man killed in horse race at viral party

Rubi Ibarra Garcia is accompanied by her parents to an open-air Mass Image copyright EPA
Image caption Rubi Ibarra Garcia's party and an open-air Mass in her honour was attended by thousands

A man was killed at a girl's birthday party in Mexico attended by thousands after her parents' video invitation to "everyone" went viral on social media.

The man died after stepping into the path of a galloping horse during a race in honour of the girl's 15th birthday.

Local media said the 66-year-old owned one of the horses taking part in the amateur race.

About 1.3 million people earlier vowed to attend the party, which also featured local bands and food.

'For the glory'

In a video message recorded earlier this month, Crescencio Ibarra announced that he would be organising a 15th birthday party for his daughter Rubi on 26 December in La Joya community, central Mexico.

"Hello, how are you? We invite you this 26 December to the 15th birthday party of our daughter, Rubi Ibarra Garcia," Mr Ibarra said while standing next to Rubi and his wife Anaelda Garcia.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Crescencio Ibarra and his wife had intended to invite locals to their daughter's birthday
Image copyright AP
Image caption Large crowds turned out for Rubi's "quinceanera" party

He then went on to announce that the winner of the horse race to be held as part of the event would win 10,000 pesos ($490; £390).

One of those drawn by the invite, and the horse race in particular, was Felix Pena of the local Coyotes Negros (Black Coyotes) stables.

Mr Pena told local broadcaster Hora Zero that he was entering his horse, Oso Dormido (Sleeping Bear), in the race and that he expected it to win.

"I'm not doing it for the [prize] money, I'm doing it for the fame and the glory."

In a video taken of the race he can be seen rolling in the dust kicked up by the horses and then lying unconscious on the ground.

Emergency workers said he died on the way to hospital.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Many of those attending the party were unaware of the accident during the horse race

It is not clear why Mr Pena, who regularly raced horses, stepped into the path of the galloping animals.

Some bystanders said he may have misjudged the distance as he tried to cheer on Oso Dormido.

Another person who also stepped into the path of the horses broke a leg.

Police said apart from the accident during the horse race, the party went off peacefully.

Going viral

Throwing a large party for a girl's coming-of-age is not unusual in Mexico, but Rubi Ibarra Garcia's party was unique in the attention it drew.

Mr Ibarra's message was posted publicly on Facebook and was widely shared on social media, prompting countless memes and imitations.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Some made up elaborate fake fliers for the party listing the bands that would play
Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Businesses also got in on the act, with Mexican airline Interjet asking: "Are you going to Rubi's 15th birthday party?" and offering a 30% discount for flights to her home state

Mr Ibarra later said that the idea had been to invite neighbours and friends only, but promised that he would not turn anyone away.

On the day, thousands of people showed up and relatives had to move away an army of waiting reporters so Rubi could attend an open-air Mass.

Dozens of tents and tables filled with food were prepared for those who made the journey.

They were met by Rubi, who looked serene despite the crowds, wearing a fuchsia dress and a tiara.

Her father was at one point exasperated by the media and threatened to end the party if reporters did not give his daughter some space.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Ibarra asked reporters to give Rubi some space

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